Social Media has always been interesting to discuss these days as the technologies have become more and more advance. There are so many social networking platforms and there are also so, so many ways to run those techie. In this post, I will try to differentiate the usage of various social media that is famously used right now! – and of course, there are some classic social media platform too that is still happening.
This post is taken from my uni essay assignment!
Blog is a term of a website where people can privately owned and create a post and release it to the Internet, as stated in Phillips and Young’s book (Phillips & Young, 2009, p.12). Although blog was found in 1997, I only start using blog around late 2008. I used my blog back then for personal purposes only. In addition, I followed some of fashion bloggers and my friends. However, this blog did not last long, because of the euphoria of micro-blogging site, Twitter. Back then, for a personal and daily use only, it was better and easier to use Twitter. You can post short characters and update it in whenever and wherever, as there are many mobile application for it. Twitter is also more communicative and interactive than blog.
But, now I have entered the professional world, I can see that having a blog is as important as having a social media like Twitter. Blogs allowed people, especially the professionals, to write a longer post that could contain the thoughts they have for a current issue that is happening today. It also has a network power that help bloggers to make their posts extent to wider audience and make the subject of the post become broadly blogged, claim Phillips and Young on page 12 (Phillips & Young, 2009). Therefore, I made another blog recently and post something that is more relevant for my professional career. I chose wordpress as my domain, because I think the site is more for professional users. The blog itself named ‘doitwithstyles’ because my interest is in beauty industry. I also wrote the about me section and stating that I am interested in fashion, beauty/make up, and celebrity industry, to make myself clearer.
The topics that I highlighted on my blog are about the launching of a new make up palette by Urban Decay and a celebration of the launching of One Direction new album. I relate all of them to Public Relations and applied some of the concepts. Thus, my blog could look like a professional review of some today’s issues, although I only started recently. In wordpress, there is a sharing service system, to help you share your blog posts to other social media account you have, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I shared my post to my Twitter and Facebook account so a wider range of people could see my blog and increase the viewers and readers number. I also put my blog link to my bio on Twitter and Instagram accounts, therefore, people could easily read my blog without asking me repeatedly. From there, my blog could reach 199 viewers in only 3 days.
Figure 1. Share the Blog’s Post on Other Social Media Account
WordPress also has a system that allows them to promote your blog to other bloggers. When I wrote all of my posts, I put some tags to point the subject that I wrote. Thus, people who is searching or blogging about the same topic could also see my posts. The same way when I wrote my post and had some words in repetitive because of those were the key issues, wordpress recommend me some blogs that also talking about the same topic. The results are 6 bloggers have liked my posts, 2 bloggers commented, and 4 bloggers followed me. Furthermore, wordpress also had a statistic features to help us monitor our blog posts flows.
Figure 2. The Statistic Feature in WordPress
Public Relations practitioners need to be aware of these features in order to enrich the post that they made to be seen in wider audience. Aside from those, PR practitioners also need to put some hyperlinks to their post, so the reader could have any further information seen on the original website. Hoffman and Novak (Hoffman & Novak, 1996) claims that consumer often visiting websites to search for information about products and services about a company. Usually, the consumer go straight to its product’s official website or click a hyperlink from other site.
Twitter is a largely used social media in any kind of age. It was invented in 2006 and according to Twitter.Inc on their company’s report for their IPO in 2013 they have more than 200 million monthly active users (US Security Exchange Commission, 2013). In Indonesia, people began to recognise Twitter in 2008. But, it is only started to become popular in 2009. I joined Twitter at the same year and I was one of the first people in my peer-group that sign up to this site. Until now I have following 377 accounts, have 369 followers and have 7123 tweets. Most of the accounts that I follow are my friends, fashion magazines, fashion and beauty brands, celebrities, fashion bloggers, PR agencies, and news accounts.
At first, many people use Twitter for personal purposes, such as communicating with friends and colleagues and many of them also use it for their daily life update, like writing a diary. Over the time, people start to realise that Twitter is more than only to interact with friends or to update their daily life. People could interact with strangers in across the country as it starts to get more global with the use of hashtag. For instance, in Figure 1, I was commenting about a TV series that I’m watching and it gets notice by other people who track that hashtag and re-tweet my tweet. Sometimes, people could engage in a conversation with other people because of the hashtag that they put on their tweet.
Figure 3. Example of Interactivity in Twitter within the Use of Hashtag
Over the time, the usage of Twitter grew from only as personal purposes to become utilise by companies, brands, and celebrities to establish a relationship with their publics. Many of them also utilise Twitter as their tools for customers relations programme and issue and crisis management programme. In addition, social media tools also grew to become more advance and obtain new social sites and applications. For instance, Foursquare that can be use to update your location and also make a recommendation of a place that you have been to. Another example is Path, a new social media application that is a more private version of Facebook. Those new social media provide a linking service towards other media channel, so people who have a Foursquare account could link its post to Twitter. Thus, the post could be seen in a larger amount of people.
This situation, however, affects the public relations aspect of many. As what CIPR (CIPR, 2013) claims, public relations is about reputation and it is a result from what companies do and what the publics say about your company. The usage of Foursquare or location service for Path, for instance, could be a benefit or disadvantage for a restaurant. People could use the social media as a review if the place is worth to visit and their colleagues will listen to it. It reflects on what David Phillips (Phillips & Young, 2009) state on the new media that it has changed the balance of power as now it altered in favour of the customer.
Figure 4. Path Sharing Systems to Twitter Example
The other advantage of using social media for organisation is to develop interpersonal relationship with its publics. Grunig on his journal (Grunig, 2009) mentioned in the digitalisation era it is best for organisation to use a strategic management paradigm, as it provides them to have dialogue with its public that could on the decision making. Van den Bosch and Van Riel, as cited on Grunig’s article (Grunig, 2009), added that within this paradigm it helps organisation as bridging relationship with the publics. For instance, celebrities are often seen to be out of reach by their fans. But, with the use of social media, the fans could interact with them and establish relationship with them, even become friends with them on Twitter.
Figure 5. Social Media Helps the Interaction between Celebrity and Fans
However, sometimes a dialogue in the social media is not considered as engagement with the publics. According to Kent and Taylor (Kent & Taylor, 2002), there are five features and one of them is Propinquity. In organisation sights, it means that publics are consulted in issues that affect them, while in publics views it is the willingness and ability to express their needs to the organisations. In the example, the dialogue that happened could be consider in empathy features. In this element, organisation (or in this matter, a celebrity) need to treat its publics as a colleague and need to not only encourage publics to participate, but they also need to make the participants feel facilitated. Daisy Lowe, in the instance, makes me feel encourage to come to the event by treating me like her friends. With the double ‘xx’ that she wrote, which means a kisses, it makes me feel close to her. Moreover, the reply that she sent me for my tweet after I met her at the party also makes me feel like she acknowledge my existence and it builts trust from me to her. This reflects what confirmation element defined, it is to acknowledge the voice of the other in spite of the ability to ignore it and it is important condition to build trust with each others.
For a full engaging and integrated social media, Path could be the best answer. Path is an application that was originally dedicated for iPhone users, but it has grown and expanded to the Android and Windows based phones. Basically, Path is like a mini Facebook. It has a status sharing, location sharing, photo and video sharing, although it limits its friend’s capacity for only 150 people, so it is more private. In addition, Path also has a song and film sharing, where you can share to your friends about what are you currently listening or watching and a messenger service. So, aside from being like a mini Facebook, Path is also like Twitter, Instagram, and Foursquare in one application. Furthermore, Path is also integrated with iTunes for its music sharing system, as you could search any song to listen to from iTunes.
Although Path posts can be share to another social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr, I personally do not think that Path could be a tool for Public Relations in social media. Not only because it has a limited people, it is also when you share it to other social media, the interaction then occurs in those social media. Thus, I only recommend Path to be utilise as a personal purposes.
Figure 6. Example of Features in Path Application
While, my friend, who practicing in automotive Public Relations in Indonesia, thinks different way and utilise Path as one of the media relations programme. Most of her friends in Path are journalists and the things that she shares are related to her work. For example, the photos and the locations that she shares are mostly about her companies’ event. It is either an award event that she attends or a press conference that she held. I think, to make it more useful, my friend need to separate her work account and personal account. Moreover, their public relations team also have to be more aware of the usage of Path in their programme, as its audience is limited if they did not share it to other social media.
Online Contribution to Mainstream Media Commentaries
Furthermore, Phillips and Young (Phillips & Young, 2009) added that although the social media is getting more advance and sophisticated, it did not destroy the traditional media. It is because the traditional media manage to adapt to the new media advancement. Many of the traditional media now has their own website that allows people to subscribe and get the daily or weekly news update. In addition, due to the profusion of the usage of social media, many of the traditional media now has a Twitter account. For example, Forbes, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, BBC, and many more.
Public Relations practitioners could use this feature to highlight some issues that is currently happening and enticing to them. They can comment on the news article and share it to their other social media account. Additionally, they could also have a discussion with the other readers from the news website. Then, the practitioner could blog about it, to talk about it further. I commented on Forbes article about how companies are now utilise Snapchat, Vine, and Intsagram as their communication promotion tools (Burg, 2013). I conclude that this practice is included in Ferber, Foltz, and Pugliese’s 6 part model of Cyberinteractivity, particularly in Controlled Response. It is a three-way communication that allows the users to participate on their site, but they remain as the moderator (Ferber et al., 2007, p.393). People could participate on the comment section and have a discussion with each other, however, the site remains in control as they can report if there is any offending comment.
Figure 7. Example of Online Mainstream Media Commentary Section
In conclusion, there are now various digital media to support public relations programme. But, in the practice, it depends on the practitioner to choose which media is suitable for them and their publics. In addition, it is also important for the organisation to use the sharing system to make their post accessible for every body.
Burg, N., 2013. Forbes: Snapchat, Instagram And Vine For Social Media Marketing? [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www.forbes.com/sites/capitalonespark/2013/11/21/snapchat-instagram-and-vine-for-social-media-marketing/” http://www.forbes.com/sites/capitalonespark/2013/11/21/snapchat-instagram-and-vine-for-social-media-marketing/ [Accessed 6 December 2013]
CIPR, 2013. CIPR: what is PR. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://www.cipr.co.uk/content/careers-cpd/careers-pr/what-pr” http://www.cipr.co.uk/content/careers-cpd/careers-pr/what-pr [Accessed 3 December 2013].
Ferber, P., Foltz, F. & Pugliese, R., 2007. Cyberdemocracy and Online Politics: A New Model of Interactivity. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 27(5).
Grunig, J.E., 2009. Paradigms of Global Public Relations in an Age of Digitalisation. PRism, 6(2).
Hoffman, D.L. & Novak, T.P., 1996. Marketing in Hypermedia Computer-Mediated Environments: Conceptual Foundations. Journal of Marketing, 60(3), pp.50-68.
Instagram, 2013. Instagram Blog. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “http://blog.instagram.com/post/60694542173/150-million” http://blog.instagram.com/post/60694542173/150-million [Accessed 3 December 2013].
Kent, M.L. & Taylor, M., 2002. Toward a Dialogic Theory of Public Relations. Public Relations Review, 28, pp.21–37.
Phillips, D. & Young, P., 2009. Online Public Relations. 2nd ed. London: Kogan Page.
Statistic Brain, 2013. Statistic Brain. [Online] Available at: HYPERLINK “www.statisticbrain.com/twitter-statistics” www.statisticbrain.com/twitter-statistics [Accessed 2 December 2013].
US Security Exchange Commission, 2013. US Security Exchange Commission. [Online] Twitter.Inc Available at: HYPERLINK “www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1418091/000119312513390321/d564001ds1.htm” www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1418091/000119312513390321/d564001ds1.htm [Accessed 2 December 2013].
Until next post!